Public awareness about period poverty, the inability to access menstrual hygiene products, has ignited a movement calling for free and accessible pads and tampons in restrooms and public spaces around the world. Period poverty impacts millions of people every day and is pervasive in US schools.
Across the country, thousands of students lack the resources to manage basic menstrual hygiene and are denied equal learning opportunities, as they often skip school or classes while having their period as a result. According to a recent study, a startling one-in-five teens have struggled to afford period products or have not been able to purchase them at all, and one-in-four teens have missed class due the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products.
People with periods are taught from a young age that one of our body’s natural processes is something to be ashamed of, and something we should go to great lengths to conceal. We’re taught to hide our period products in our sleeves on the way to the restroom, and constantly check our clothes for any leaks or stains. The reality of period poverty, combined with the social stigma attached to having a period, like whispering for a tampon in the middle of class or the perception that periods are strictly prohibited as a topic of conversation, has long-lasting implications on a student’s life. Rather than face the stress and shame associated with these conversations, many students just choose to skip school altogether. In fact, students reported that stress and shame were the most common emotions that they associated with menstruation.
The good news is that we at Hello I Flo are here to help! Join us in fighting period poverty!